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High-Throughput Materials Discovery Approach Puts Solar Fuels on the Fast Track to Commercial Viability
Molecular Foundry staff and users have developed a process that in just two years has nearly doubled the number of materials known to have potential for use in solar fuels.
Significance and Impact
The approach promises to speed the discovery of commercially viable generation of solar fuels that could replace coal, oil, and other fossil fuels.
- To create practical solar fuels, scientists are looking for materials that perform the necessary chemistry using only visible light as an energy source.
- Previous processes relied on testing individual compounds. Instead, the team combined computational and experimental approaches by mining a materials database for potentially useful compounds, and then testing the most promising candidates using high-throughput experimentation.
- Computational resources at NERSC performed hundreds of theoretical calculations, and software and expertise at the Molecular Foundry enabled the analysis of the most promising candidates.
Q. Yan, J. Yu, S. K. Suram, L. Zhou, A. Shinde, P. F. Newhouse, W. Chen, G. Li, K. A. Persson, J. M. Gregoire & J. B. Neaton, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 (epub).